Postgame Report: Morant’s 40 points not enough to beat Lakers in 121-118 defeat
Key Stat of the Night
- All 5 Grizz starters scoring in double digits.
- Steven Adams' first grizzly double double with 14 points and 16 rebounds.
Key Run of the Night
- The Grizzlies used a 14-6 run to jump out to an early lead in the first quarter.
The Memphis Grizzlies fell to the Carmelo Anthony and the Los Angeles Lakers in the final minutes at Staples Center on Sunday.
Anthony piled up 28 points, 12 in the fourth quarter, on 6-of-8 shooting from three to help push the Lakers past the Grizzlies. Anthony Davis scored 22 points with eight rebounds and four blocks while LeBron James racked up 19 points, six rebounds and six assists. Russell Westbrook posted a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Ja Morant delivered another highlight-filled performance with 40 points and 10 assists, going 5-for-7 from 3-point range. Desmond Bane added 17 points, five rebounds and four assists and Steven Adams posted a double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds.
The Grizzlies used a 14-6 run to jump out to an early lead in the first quarter, but a two-minute scoring drought gave the Lakers a window to take control. Davis notched 10 points in the quarter as the Lakers put together 22-7 to take a 29-24 lead.
The Grizzlies rallied behind Morant in the second quarter, but the Lakers found an answer for every push to hold a 62-56 lead at halftime. Morant went 4-for-5 from 3-point range to lead all scorers with 17 points in the first half.
The two squads went back and forth with nine lead changes in the third quarter. Morant piled up 10 points, six assists and two rebounds in the period to give the Grizzlies a 90-87 advantage with one quarter to play.
The Lakers looked to pull away with timely shot making from Anthony and James in the fourth quarter. With the Grizzlies down three points with 2.5 seconds left, Kent Bazemore fouled Morant on a 3-point attempt; with Morant missing the last of his three free throws, the Lakers escaped with a victory over the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies’ West Coast road trip continues with a matchup against Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 9 p.m. CT. Fans can tune in to Bally Sports Southeast or listen live on 92.9 FM ESPN.
On the team’s performance tonight.:“Very proud. I told them obviously, we got better tonight despite a loss. I know those losses hurt. Great atmosphere. Our guys just weathered storms. The Lakers played great tonight, they had so many great individual contributions, the way they moved the ball, they made it really hard on us. I thought we dug ourselves a big hole despite being down six at halftime. Our focus wasn’t there, our edge wasn’t there. They took advantage of that in the first half. Obviously, we come back and had a great third quarter and it’s a back and forth fourth quarter. Possession after possession, ends up being a three-point ball game against a heck of a team. Really proud of our guys, it’s just that consistency for 48 [minutes]. Our Grizzlies standards showed up in the second half, wasn’t there in the first half and despite that, it was a one possession game in the end.”
On Ja Morant’s improved shooting to start the season:“He’s finding those windows of opportunity. He’s becoming more lethal all over the floor. Obviously, he’s going to set a tone with how he gets downhill. Obviously the three-point shooting the last couple of nights, especially tonight, were big for us. He’s just got so much confidence. Why? Because he’s been putting in the work. It was a daily grind for him this offseason. The free throws, obviously getting to the free-throw line more, it’s a big emphasis of his. So as he just continues evolving his game, you’re just seeing he’s going to become unstoppable.”
On the team’s rebounding this season:“It has to be an emphasis for the rest of the year. We talked about priorities, defensively and offensively with the team. We talk about this ‘road map to success’ and one of those key factors is our ability to finish possessions. We did a good job of that last season, but we need more guys involved this year. I think we’ve outrebounded our opponents the last couple of games which is big time. Steven [Adams] has to do it, Jaren [Jackson Jr.] has to do it, our guards have to be in there. That’s winning basketball. That’s the game within the game. Really proud of that because that was a big point of emphasis going into the Laker’s scout tonight and there were so many things our guys did, game-plan wise, well. We had our mistakes early in the first half, better in the second half but the fact that we really clamped down on second chance points. I know we had one late in the game, Anthony [Davis] goes in there and gets that. Wish we could have that one back. The fact that our guys are embracing that and making that a priority is really going to be something that sets us up for success for the rest of the season.”
On what needs to be improved:Pretty much making sure that we are doing all the small things. Rebounding. Getting 50-50 balls. Locked in on our coverages. You know our game plan, getting out and run it. Pretty much shows our main focus right now is keeping guys out of the paint. That’s our focus.
On becoming a lethal three-point shooter:I mean the stats show for itself. Make or miss, I’m going into that shot with 100% confidence that I’m making it. If I miss, I shoot 10 more. I worked on it consistently and it’s time for me to continue to shoot the ball.
On being seen as a leader:It means a lot for me, knowing that those guys have my back. As soon as I missed a free throw, every last one of them was like ‘You good?’ next play ‘You good?’ Locker room was the same message. I appreciate them for that. I’m pretty sure everybody who knows me, knows I’m very hard on myself. I really don’t care about what I’ve done tonight in this game. I missed a free throw to tie it. It’s pretty much the only thing on my mind. I’m pretty much sure that those guys know at the end of the day that I’m going to be frontline and ready to go to war with them as well.
On what the team can take from this game:I think that we went through adversity, of course. Our first back-to-back of the season, started out slow. We knew the Lakers were going to come out hungry, having lost their first two games at home. I think we responded well. They came out, punched us in the mouth and we responded, played them down to the wire. A couple balls go a couple different ways, we end up losing the game but I’m proud of our group for sure.
On Ja Morant’s missed free throw to tie the game:We’re not worried about it at all. We’re going to war with Ja. That’s our leader, that’s our guy. He’s going to be an All-Star, probably All-NBA player. We’re going to war with him, and we have his back through everything. He happened to miss a free throw tonight. Next time he gets another opportunity to win a game I’m sure that he’s going to capitalize on it. It happens. Tough situation but he’ll be fine, bounce back, we have his back for sure.
On what the team has learned through the first three games:We have a close-knit group. I think that this is the closest team that I’ve ever been on. Last year I thought our team was pretty close, but we’re even closer this year That’s the main thing. If we can stay on the same page and play for each other for 82 games I like our chances.
- Morant delivered another highlight-filled performance with 40 points and 10 assists, going 5-for-7 from 3-point range.
- Steven Adams posted his first double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds.
- Desmond Bane added 17 points, five rebounds and four assists.